It’s official: Crimea is now part of Russia

That was quick, via the Washington Post:

MOSCOW —Russia effectively absorbed Crimea Tuesday afternoon, moments after President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia has no designs on any other parts of Ukraine.

In a speech to a joint session of parliament, which he used to call for the “reunification” of Crimea with Russia, he said that the region has a special role in Russian history that makes it unique.

Ecstatic members of the Russian parliament watched while Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty of accession as soon as Putin was done speaking, and the Kremlin said afterwards it considers the treaty to be in force even before parliament has ratified it.

Sevastopol, the city where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based, also entered the Russian Federation, as a separate entity.

Even while declaring that Moscow will not seek to expand its holdings in Ukraine, Putin also promised that Russia will do what it must to protect the rights of Russians living abroad — which suggests that he intends to play a role in restive eastern Ukraine, with its large Russian population.


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